We did not live in the best neighborhood, so it seemed desirable to know something about self-defense. I was sold on martial arts when I put a bully on his back after training with a neighborhood Judo club. From then on I studied whatever martial arts I could find: TKD, Moo Duk Kwon, Tang Soo Do, Southern Shaolin Kung Fu. I knew a lot of martial arts but little about fighting and real self-defense. This point was hammered home to me when I began sparring with a Golden Gloves boxer. I found that most of my martial arts techniques didn't work against a real fighter. The martial arts were off my list and self-defense was my new objective. A little research convinced me that what I needed was Wing Chun. However the only thing available was a Wing Chun Do school about 40 minutes from my house, in Monroe Michigan. My new teacher was Sifu Jim Clark. As a life long Bruce Lee fan, I was pleased to find the Wing Chun Do - James DeMile - Bruce Lee connection. I started my training in 1982. I could not have imagined that when I started my WCD journey that I would some day be named Inheritor to James DeMile's Wing Chun Do Gung Fu system.
In 1984, I had the pleasure of meeting Sijo James DeMile in a seminar at the school and realized that I wanted to be an instructor in WCD. In 1985, after receiving my brown sash, I along with several sihings (senior students) petitioned Sijo DeMile to start a new instructor-training program. I was convinced that WCD was the best self-defense system in the world.
In 1988, I was certified as Basic WCD Instructor (Sifu) and began teaching at the local YMCA. In 1989, I opened my first school and began to develop my teaching skills. Three years later we needed to expand and moved to a new location. After running a successful school for several years, I received full certification as an Advanced Level WCD Instructor in 1993. Appeared in Grandmaster James W. DeMile's book the Tao of Wing Chun Do (Fifth Edition) and is featured on DeMile's video, Bruce Lee's One and Three Inch Power Punch.
In 1996, was chosen charter member of the Board of Directors for the Wing Chun Do International Association. In 1998, received promotion to Sibok (Senior Instructor) allowing me to train and promote instructors for WCD International. In 1999, Sijo DeMile named Ambrose Academy as the Midwest WCD International Training Center giving me the privilege and distinction of not only training instructors but to fully certify future instructors for WCD International.
In 1996, helped train police officers in Port Clinton, Ohio and in 1998, Detroit officers in Michigan. In 2004, I accompanied Sijo to Nassau, New York to conduct DeMile's Police Defensive Tactics with the Nassau Police Department. The group consisted of corrections officers, Nassau police officers, and federal marshals. I have had the privilege of acting as an Instructor for WCD Instructor Training Camps held at Sijo's beautiful properties in Hawaii, Seattle, and now in Oregon as well as conducting seminars in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the United States.
Between 1990 and 2007, Sijo DeMile has presented over twenty seminars on Wing Chun Do and DeMile Developmental Meditation at Ambrose Academy. Each event was an occasion of celebration for us, our students and for those who came in from the Eastern United States and Canada. I attended annual Instructor Training camps from 1985 through 2002 and any Instructor seminars in subsequent years, the latest in 2011. In 2005, Ambrose Academy students and their families were happy to board a plane for a special seminar for our students conducted by Sijo DeMile in Waikiki, Hawaii. In 2008, a group of students flew to the Big Island for a weeklong course in DeMile Defensive Tactics.
In June 2001, at the first Annual Wing Chun Do Convention, held in Waikiki, Hawaii, I was named Instructor of the Decade for innovations and contributions to Wing Chun Do. In 2002, Sijo DeMile came to Michigan and presented me with the prestigious Sijo Award. The dragon's head on the award was handcrafted by Sijo DeMile and is one of my prized possessions. In 2003, I was named as Inheritor of Wing Chun Do when Sijo decided to put more of his emphasis in DeMile Defensive Tactics. I am pleased to see that the last few years he is back teaching and promoting what I think is the best self defense system on the planet, Wing Chun Do.
I have promoted Wing Chun Do with interviews on radio, television, and newspapers since 1988 in the United States and Canada. My article on the "Nine Critical Perimeters of Wing Chun Do" appeared in the April 2005 issue of Inside Kung Fu Magazine. In 2007, an interview conducted by Paul Bax in his new book, Descendents of the Dragon.
Due to the long time friendship of Sijo James DeMile and Professor Wally Jay, creator of Small Circle Jujitsu, I had the privilege to accompany Sijo for over a decade to numerous Jujitsu seminars, competitions, and conventions in Small Circle Jujitsu, Jujitsu America and United State Sports Jujitsu Association. This offered me an opportunity to meet and train with many world-class martial artists. During this time I was certified as a judge and referee for competitions in Ohio, W. Virginia, and Washington. In 2003 and 2004, I was asked to judge and referee the Chi Sao competition at the Great Lakes Kung Fu Tournament.
In 2011, Ambrose Academy of Wing Chun Do will celebrate its 23nd Year Anniversary, serving clients/students since 1988. In 2001, we expanded again moving to Livonia, Michigan, but this time we own the building and have made it our official headquarters for years to come. Besides our regular Wing Chun Do classes held at our school, we have created Ambrose Academy Personal Protection Programs specifically with the community and non-martial artist in mind. These community programs include:
Our dedication to the personal growth, development, and safety of our students and their families has been recognized by local editors awarding us with numerous awards for Best Martial Arts Class and Best Family Friendly Business in Metropolitan Detroit area. We won the first ever Nickelodeon's Parents' Picks Award in 2009, where local editors based on research and client feedback chose only five schools to participate in the award's inaugural year. We now hold the distinction of winning the award two years in a row, again in 2010.
I established a satellite school at UAW/Ford Motor Ernest Loften Center for three years and have conducted comprehensive twelve-week programs in Practical Self Defense in house, at Detroit Diesel and the Livonia Army Reserves. My latest project is Second Sight Self Defense© for the Visually Impaired. I know that Wing Chun Do will be an effective self-defense for the blind, and my goal is to prove it. I now have two visually impaired students training to be instructors and they are as dedicated as I to the cause.
I have made teaching Wing Chun Do my life's passion. My family has been there working along side me. I have long time WCD students and families that have become my brothers and sisters, my sons and daughters. I've heard Sijo say when he met Bruce Lee it changed his life. When I met Sijo DeMile, it changed mine. I hope to change the lives of as many people as possible, through Wing Chun Do.